New York Yankees fans can certainly understand the outside baseball world wanting them to crash and burn, but how about we come up with realistic scenarios for that to happen if we're going to continuously discuss this team's demise? That's the least we can ask for.
Ever since the heinous Clarke Schmidt-for-Alex Verdugo trade rumor crossed our desk in September, Yankees fans thought they had made it clear that 1) they hate Verdugo; 2) his presence on this team wouldn't make any sort of difference; and 3) he's a disastrous personality fit.
But somehow that hasn't stopped the connection from dying. On a recent episode of Talkin' Yanks, co-host Jake Storiale pondered if a straight up Gleyber Torres-for-Verdugo trade this offseason could interest both teams. The man's just doing his job, but it's safe to say fans would be furious if that deal went down.
MLBTradeRumors.com was the most recent to weigh in, and they went as far to make the Yankees one of the top destinations for Verdugo this offseason alongside the Astros, Braves, Dodgers and Mariners. The reasoning, however, was a bit too boilerplate to actually persuade us.
They mentioned the Yankees need an outfielder and cited the recent, meaningless trades between the two rivals that featured Greg Allen and Adam Ottavino -- both irrelevant acqusitions that largely did nothing (unless we want to magnify once again that Ottavino ended the 2021 ALCS for the Red Sox, which, yes, we'll do).
Continued Yankees-Alex Verdugo trade rumors need to cease immediately
Yankees fans might prefer entering 2024 without a left fielder again in favor of making a play for Verdugo, who was benched as recently as a few months ago for immaturity issues as he continued to clash with manager Alex Cora.
Outside of Verdugo being a lefty bat and an outfielder (with his most recent season coming in right field, by the way, which makes him even more useless), what logical explanation is there for the Yankees bringing him aboard next year?
If he's having a tough time dealing with backlash, criticism and discipline in Boston, what makes anybody think it'll get better in New York, where everything is magnified far greater? Not only that, but Verdugo, at the end of last season, was challenged by Cora to "take the next step" in 2023. Though Verdugo improved defensively, his offensive numbers dipped or remained stagnant across the board.
In theory, yes, Alex Verdugo and his .280 average and .765 OPS would make the Yankees a better team, but he's not a culture fit. He's not a long-term option (he's a free agent after 2024). His value as an outfielder is dwarfed by Torres' value as a middle infielder. He's clearly got baggage, and the Yankees never have that work in their favor when making such an acquisition.
At this point, these aren't even rumors. We had a hard time believing the Schmidt-Verdugo aftermath because it didn't come from an undisputed reputable source. That's why this all needs to end here. If the Yankees can't find a better or similar outfield option, then perhaps that'll be the true indicator of rock bottom.